ORLANDO, Fla. (CN)- A class action claiming Waffle House didn’t hire prospective employees based on false information garnered from background checks, will proceed, despite Waffle House trying to shut the case down.
Lead plaintiff William Jones attempted to get a job at a Waffle House in Ormond Beach, Fla. in December 2014, and claims the defendant restaurant chain, an icon in the Southeastern U.S., violated the Fair Credit Reporting Act because it procured a background report from defendant The Source for Public Data, L.P, without taking adequate steps to make sure the information reported was accurate..
Jones claims that Waffle House refused to hire him based on the information about supposed criminal convictions, despite it being false. He sued the restaurant chain on Oct. 1, 2015.
Under the FCRA, “when preparing a consumer report, a consumer reporting agency is required to “follow reasonable procedures to assure maximum possible accuracy of the information concerning the individual about whom the report relates,” the federal judge order states, citing the background of the class action.
The reporting agency must also notify the consumer before they provide information that could have an adverse effect on the consumer’s employment opportunities, which Jones said Public Data did not do.
Waffle House and Public Data moved to dismiss the lawsuit for lack of standing, stating that there is no proof that Waffle House ran a search on the plaintiff using Public Data, and therefore Jones cannot prove “injury-in-fact, causation, or redressability.”
Additionally, defendants claim that Jones was since hired at a Waffle House in Kansas City, Mo., where he signed an arbitration agreement with Waffle House. Waffle House moved to compel arbitration.
On Thursday, U.S. District Judge Roy Dalton, Jr. tossed Waffle House’s motion on the purported lack of subject matter jurisdiction, holding that “as a general rule, ‘federal claims should not be dismissed on a motion for lack of subject matter.'”
The judge went on to rule that “arbitration under the FAA is ultimately ‘a matter of consent, not coercion.'”
There will be a hearing on July 1 to decide if the case will go to arbitration.
Joshua Eggnatz of Eggnatz, Lopatin, & Pascucci represents the plaintiff and did not immediately response to a telephone call from Courthouse News seeking comment.
Waffle House’s communications department did not respond to either an email or a phone call from Courthouse News seeking comment.
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